How to properly record a miced guitar?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Dwin, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    Hmm, sounds intriguing, but also difficult to play right on time like that, even with a metronome. I'm not exactly sure how to edit the track to make the timing right.
     
  2. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    It's actually the tiny variances in timing, tone, and tuning that makes this technique work. If you were to edit the tracks so they were perfectly the same it would sound wimpy. Try it!
     
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  3. River

    River Senior Member

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    Al, if your goal is the best-sounding recording, as opposed to an accurate recording of your live sound, try dialing WAY back on the distortion and using software distortion effects. My experience is terribly limited compared to others here, but some of the effects are startlingly good - and realistic.

    Nailing the performance and later finding it's much too dirty for the mix is a huge disappoint.
     
  4. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    I'll make a sound clip of my findings. I find software distortion effects to be the most disappointing of all digital effects out there. I did read that many of my metal heroes got their enormous gain tones (here' an example of what I'm talking about: [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x3V66Y9puk]YouTube - ‪Metallica - The Shortest Straw (Guitar Track)‬‏[/ame] ) did so by doing two different recordings then blending the tracks.

    As far as micing technique, anyone have any suggestions for using a single mic? I have 2 different kinds of speakers in my cab and was wondering which was the ideal one to record with as well as mic positioning and what not.
     
  5. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    Most guys will put their SM57 (or beta) about an inch or two off the grill. You'll want to experiment with where to put it laterally. More towards the center will give you more treble response and more towards the outside of the cone will be more bassy. As to which speaker, you'll have to experiment there and see which sounds better.

    I've had decent results lately pointing the mic at the speaker on a 45 degree angle rather than at the direct and typical 90 degrees.

    FreddyG's right about the doubling. The imperfections are what makes it sound bigger, like a band! That said if you only record it once but pan a duplicate track to the opposite side, try delaying it around 15 milliseconds or so to help the 'bigness'.

    Good luck,

    Warren
     
  6. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    I tried the "play it really tight" method, and, while it did sound bigger, its very hard to get the timing of the notes spot on in a 210 bpm setting :p. Dialing back the gain from regular live settings helped immensely to clear up the sound yet maintain the drive, and when doubled, the gain sounds as though it were at the normal setting. My main issue now is getting the timing spot on... Any ideas on how I should do this?
     
  7. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    Just double it or practice like a mofo. I didn't realize the tempo was so damn fast but hey if you can play it once...
     
  8. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    Yea I play lots of thrash metal and tempos can get pretty wild. For regular tempo songs this method works great but it's really hard getting it spot on so fast. I'm going to practice the timing thing though, I'll try and pull it off.
     
  9. solidwalnut

    solidwalnut Junior Member

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    BigAl, try splitting off the clean signal of the guitar and recording that as well so you can play with that track. Maybe re-amping, maybe using an amp simulator plug-in.
     
  10. River

    River Senior Member

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    Well, whose have you tried? That's a mighty judgmental and generalized statement. Some of the best players, producers, and mixers in the world rely on them. :hmm:

    Then again, you say you play "thrash metal", so I really shouldn't even be talking to you anymore. :laugh2:

    You guys did help me out, as I went on the hunt for the "sweet spot" for my amp and mic. The mic is a cheap SM-58 (vocal mic) clone; the amp is the best ever made ;).

    Here's the sweet spot, for what help it might someone:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    That's cool River. How are you monitoring it to discover the sweet spot? Headphones, speakers, in another room? I'm just curious about this.

    My set-up basically uses a long speaker cable. I'll have a Tiny Terror and/or Mesa TA head beside me at my computer in the office room and the speaker cabinet and microphone are about 20 feet away in a different room.

    With this setup I can crank the amp loud to where it sounds great and also monitor through my speakers to hear what I'm getting without being blown away by the direct sound of the amp. Also, since the heads are right beside me I can tweak settings without getting up.

    It makes it a lot easier when tracking alone which is a boat I'm sure most of us are in.


    Cheers,

    Warren
     
  12. River

    River Senior Member

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    I just simulated the micing scenario that matters to me - recording with my DAW and playing back through my high-end, sub-woofered PC speakers - wanting to hear what I heard in the room. That's my target "audience" at this point.

    With the mic closer to the speaker or off-axis, the playback just doesn't match what I hear, and I have to compress and EQ it to get close. Pulled back 3-4 inches and dead center, what I hear in the room is what gets played back. The main thing missing in other positions is high mids, but also some general "room" sounds as well, especially when close up.
     
  13. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    Hey now... Don't hate :p. I can bend blues with the best of 'em, it was the first style I studied properly. My playing has evolved since.

    I'm very particular with my distortion tones; i.e they must come from a great tube amp, and they must have balls. From my experience,( I haven't tried EVERY software distortion) software dists. have neither. Tubes are excusable but lousy tone is not.
     
  14. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    OK, so I sugggested that if you edit the two tracks so they are exactly alike that would defeat the purpose. But you can edit chunks...for example, lets say you start drifting for 2 measures on one take as compared to the other, just snip the 2 measures and move them in time so that the peaks and valleys in the waveforms more or less line up in a sort of average way. Still not perfect, but closer.
     
  15. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    I'll give that a try. Sorry for being such a noob guys :lol:
     
  16. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Solidwalnut mentioned this and I'll say it too. When I track guitar I always take a DI split off the guitar and record that onto a separate track. Now, I have some great sounding amps (all of them are tubes of course:D) and I have my tried and true methods of recording them. But sometimes when it comes to the mix after everything is tracked and you hear you guitar track in the proper context, you may find that the sound you thought was great when tracking is not exactly right for the mix. Also, it is especially useful when you are the performer and engineer all in one. This frees me up so that my only concern is getting a great performance...once I have that, I can re-amp and play with amplifier, pedal & distortion settings at my leisure! Then you have a whole palette of choices, you can re-amp and get the sound you want, or you can blend the re-amped sound with the original miked recording.
    I rarely record a "bad" guitar sound, so it's usually close to begin with. But my philosophy is this...in any area of recording performance always trumps engineering. People will readily listen to a great performance that is poorly recorded but nobody wants to hear a poor performance that is beautifully engineered! :)
    But of course the goal is to get both the performance and the engineering great.
     
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  17. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    Great advice, but I don't know how to take a DI split off. All this stuff is very foreign to me.
     
  18. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Senior Member

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    A few general principles I work from

    1) Use as few mics as possible.
    2) Distance is depth. Sometime it needs to be on the grill but not as often as most think
    3) Mic placement is crucial. Spend the time to dial it in
     
  19. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    You need a DI box to split the signal. Inside the DI box the signal is split, one side goes straight to your amp, not affecting your sound at all.... and the other split goes into a transformer inside the DI that then sends a balanced signal to your recording interface.
    Now the device you need when you want to send that recorded raw guitar track out to an amplifier (which you mic and then re-record) is a so called re-amp box like this one.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    I'm confused. So you basically you record once, then record again? What does this achieve?
     

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